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Film and music program curated by Alejandro G. Iñárritu and Daniela Michel

The Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra will be presenting a program with music from Mexico City (CDMX) from October 9 to 17, 2017, at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles. A Film Night which will present a musical film curation created by the extraordinary Mexican filmmaker Alejandro González Iñárritu and Daniela Michel, founder and general director of the Morelia International Film Festival (FICM), will be among its activities for the first time.

Film Night, which will be held on October 13, will include soundtracks, songs and fragments of videos musicalized by the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, directed by Gustavo Dudamel. The selection ranges from classic songs by Jorge Negrete and Pedro Infante to contemporary cult favorites such as Guillermo del Toro‘s Pan’s Labyrinth (2006).

Another artist who will participate in the CDMX program of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra is the Mexican composer and percussionist Antonio Sánchez, who will be musicalizing live Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) (2015) by Alejandro González Iñárritu, the inaugural film of the 12th FICM and winner of the Oscar for Best Film in 2015.

Through this program, the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra offers a window into the vibrant and diverse music scene of the Mexican capital, exploring both its more contemporary expressions and its rich tradition through collaborations with musicians such as Natalia Lafourcade, Café Tacvba, Mexrrissey and La Sonora Santanera, among many others.

In an interview, Daniela Michel stated that it was a great honor to have been invited by Alejandro González Iñárritu to participate in this program and commented on the extremely enriching experience of collaborating with talents of the magnitude of Iñárritu and Gustavo Dudamel.

Read the full interview with Daniela Michel bellow.

How was the selection of films and songs made?

It was a great honor to receive this invitation from Alejandro González Iñárritu. He told me earlier this year that the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra had invited him to do a special program on Mexican film and its music. We had a lot of conversations about the movies we could choose. The aim was to cover a very broad historical panorama: from classic films such as Redes (1936, dirs. Fred Zinnemann and Emilio Gómez Muriel), to more recent films such as Y tu mamá también (2001, dir. Alfonso Cuarón) and Pan’s Labyrinth (2006, dir. Guillermo del Toro).

Redes, by Fred Zinnemann and Emilio Gómez Muriel.

We also knew that Gustavo Dudamel, who is one of the best conductors in the world, had a special predilection for Mexican popular music. We decided to include songs performed by Pedro Infante and Jorge Negrete, among many other great artists who enriched our cinema. The criterion was also to look for films that were emblematic in the history of Mexican cinema, in addition to having a great visual richness. For example, Enamorada (1946, dir. Emilio Fernández)—with that beautiful sequence in which Maria Felix‘s eyes are photographed by Gabriel Figueroa to “La malagueña” playing in the background—are essential moments to understand Mexican cinema.

In addition to the historical criterion, we tried to give a place to the diverse genres in Mexico, like the ranchera song, the bolero and the danzón, to emphasize our enormous musical and cultural wealth.

Did you have any support or collaboration from any musician?

Alejandro and I developed a very extensive list of films that we shared with Gustavo Dudamel throughout the process. This way, the three of us worked together.

Then we had to look for the film material we were interested in projecting during the concert. For this, we had Televisa’s generous support, who provided us with the valuable archive material.

How was the experience of participating in a project of this nature?

Collaborating with Alejandro González Iñárritu is always an honor and an enormous learning experience for me. I have had the privilege of working side by side with him on some projects and it is always a source of great inspiration. It was very important to us both that Mexican music and cinema were well represented in this great concert of the Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Gustavo Dudamel, because we both feel very proud of our country and our culture.

To learn more about the program, visit the LA Phil website.